The modern workforce includes 41 million independent professionals—contractors, freelancers, consultants, and more who work with small, medium, and large organizations. Including these contingent workers as part of your workforce strategy comes with many benefits including specialized expertise, staffing flexibility, and lower costs.
In order for an independent workforce program to be successful, however, internal staff as well as independent talent must fully embrace it. But securing buy-in can be difficult, especially if people are new to the concept. Here are five tips for improving adoption of your independent workforce program.
1. Make a Strong Business Case
A defined business case helps to provide a strong foundation on which to build support for an independent workforce program. When people can see the return on investment associated with using independent talent, it will help them to understand why the program exists, and garner their support.
To build a business case, start by defining program goals: is your objective to drive efficiency, save costs, or mitigate risk? With clear goals in mind, you can begin to promote your program internally along with the reason you are implementing it, how it works, and how it will benefit the company.
2. Secure Support
In order for internal staff to follow along, executives and key stakeholders must first understand and champion your program. To obtain this buy-in, include executives and stakeholders from the start and involve them in the process of designing your program.
When presenting your ideas, be sure to clearly outline why the program is needed, list the benefits it will offer, and share how you will ensure success. Throughout the process, ask for and leverage feedback from stakeholders. Once they are on board, it will make your job of messaging the new program throughout the organization much easier.
3. Define Clear Policies
As part of your independent workforce program structure, include a clear policy for contractor engagement. This policy should establish roles, responsibilities, and rules for identifying, engaging, and managing your independent workforce.
Define a policy owner and make sure there is a streamlined approval process in place to keep things moving smoothly once the program begins. If needed, provide additional training for hiring managers or HR staff involved in this process. Taking the time to properly educate employees about the program will ensure they fully understand the policy and can pass on their knowledge to others.
4. Track Performance
Establishing key success metrics that you can track is a great way to continually promote and update your organization on how the program is doing. Schedule quarterly business reviews to track performance and communicate these results to staff. Use these results to refine, enhance, or change your program as needed.
5. Gather Feedback and Improve
Providing reports on program performance helps to open lines of communication between everyone in your organization. If your program is highly visible and staff are involved and kept up-to-date, they are more likely to be committed to the success of the program.
Asking for feedback both from internal users as well as your base of independent professionals can be a great way to increase engagement and solicit helpful ideas. By understanding the needs of both audiences, you can improve your program in the best way possible.
Remember, your program is a dynamic process. As your organization grows and as your contractor base increases, look for opportunities to improve and evolve. Firms like MBO Partners offer many strategies and tools that can help you increase the adoption of your independent workforce program.
For more information on independent workforce programs, contact us today.